Radio Helsinki Listener! Your humble host, Henry Rollins here. I hope you have been listening to the last four shows and they have brought you to show #05 and these notes.
I keep a fairly busy schedule. I try to be as active as possible. I need to work in advance as much as possible. To be on the safe side of things, I make these notes several days in advance. It’s Friday, June 23rd. I am in Spokane, Washington, still. My hitch working on the television show that has had me here for the last two weeks wrapped a few hours ago and at 0445 hrs. tomorrow, I will be heading to the airport and back to Los Angeles.
One of my favorite aspects of listening to music is the idea of ritual. As I have explained in previous notes, I listen to music seasonally but there are some records I play all the time, no matter what time of the year it is. For instance, as I write this, I am listening to one of my favorite albums of all time, Machine Gun Etiquette by the Damned. I got it as soon as it came out in late 1979. We all had the two singles that came out before the album. The Love Song EP with Love Song / Noise, Noise, Noise / Suicide and the Smash It Up / Burglar single. These were big records in the small Washington DC music scene I was in. MGE didn’t disappoint. All these years later, it still sounds great. I do my best to listen to it every Friday evening, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I think there is something really cool about coming back to a certain place or in this case, a certain record, again and again.
One of the things that has never failed to trip me out is the simple fact that the music on a record doesn’t change, meanwhile, you do. It is not a unique experience to listen to a song and suddenly be transported back to a different time but the power of that has always fascinated me. I’m not interested in living in the past but I think it’s an interesting way to check in with yourself by listening to a record you’re familiar with. There is a certain degree of transference that occurs when you hear an album enough times. The music, in a way, becomes yours.
I have said more than once that one of the best ways to evaluate someone is to check out their record collection. That might seem to you like a superficial way to judge their character but I think it can be a very accurate roadmap by which to understand someone. My record collection, when I look at it objectively, leaves me no other conclusion than I’m an obsessive/train spotter type who needs to get out more often. Fair enough.
I never thought that my record collection made me a better or more interesting person but I am 100% sure they have made my life better and more interesting. Great records are collections of brilliance somehow captured forever. I don’t think I will ever do anything better than a Charlie Parker solo, so I reckon it’s a good idea to have a lot of his music at the ready.
A Friday evening is one of the best chunks of time I have ever known. It requires a great soundtrack. Many years ago, when I was in school, I was unable to enjoy it. I hated every part of it. Friday when the last class was over, I was out of there as fast as I could. I had 48 hours away from the gulag. Immediately, I wanted to hear music. In those days, my favorite Friday post school listens were Led Zeppelin II and IV. As bad as my record player was, they still sounded great. Perhaps this gets to the point I wanted to make. Sometimes the music is more than music, more than a reference of time and place, it is a part of life that exists in all tenses. It is past, present and future. It is yours and whoever else who it touches. It is a filter or a lens through which to assess your existence. I’m not trying to be high minded, I think I’m onto something here. When I listen to the Scary Monsters album by David Bowie, it’s so burned into my mind, I will get through both sides and realize that I don’t remember much of what it sounded like. It would be like trying to describe the sound of your breath. I have played Raw Power by the Stooges so many times, I don’t know if I can tell you why it’s good. It would be like trying to explain to you what it’s like to be alive. Nothing in my life has come close to the greatness of music. I never liked making it or playing it live nearly as much as I like being a listener.
Just so you know, when I put together the shows for our twelve broadcasts, even though I knew the shows were going to air on Wednesday, I had Friday on my mind when I made them. Life is short and often quite mundane. Look at the country I live in. Great place with extraordinarily bad leadership. There isn’t much I can do about that besides vote and do my best not to get caught in the crossfire. In this environment, music is an essential asset.
And this, Radio Helsinki listener, is why I like putting together radio broadcasts. It is an opportunity to create a two hour occurrence, using found sounds, communicating with people I might never meet and being able to make things better for that duration of time.
Hopefully this is what has been achieved with this gathering of songs. It is a mixture of old and new. Over the twelve weeks we are together, I tried to keep the mix slightly geared towards music that might be in rearview. I figured you are up to date on what’s happening now and it might be useful to hear some music you could end up liking that would compel you to dig down and do some searching. There are plenty of new tunes mixed in but I thought that as a concept, this would be an interesting way to go.
I’m willing to bet that you are plenty internet efficient and if you like anything you hear on the show, you can always go online and learn more. In a way, that’s what a big part of these twelve broadcasts are, a set up for further exploration, discovery, epiphany and enjoyment. I hope this is the case. Until next week, thank you for listening and reading this.
RADIO HELSINKI #05
01. Negative Trend - How Ya Feelin’ / Negative Trend EP
02. The Beastie Boys - Egg Man / Paul’s Boutique
03. Wire - Lowdown / Pink Flag
04. Devo - Social Fools / B Stiff EP
05. Chain & The Gang - The Logic of Night / Best Of Crime Rock
06. Public Image Ltd. - Public Image / single
07. Deadboy & The Elephantmen - How Long The Night Was / We Are Night Sky
08. The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat (mono) / White Light/White Heat
09. Joy Division – Disorder / Unknown Pleasures
10. Buzzcocks - Airwaves Dream / Singles Going Steady
11. Kikagaku Moyo - In a Coil / Stone Garden
12. Funkadelic - Super Stupid / Maggot Brain
13. The UK Subs - I.O.D. / Another Kind of Blues
14. Thug - Dave’s Back From Outer Space / Everything Is Beautiful In Its Own Way
15. Eater - Outside View / single
16. Flin Flon – Darlings / Dixie
17. Rain - That Time Of Year / La Vache Qui Rit
18. Dee Dee King - Mashed Potato Time / Standing in the Spotlight
19. Fats Waller - Eep, Ipe, Wanna Piece Of Pie / Last Years (1940-1943)
20. Olivia Neutron-John - Death-Tango / download from site
21. Bark Bark Bark – Haunts / Haunts
22. Jack Name - Do the Shadow / Light Show
23. Trin Tran - Dark Radar / Dark Radar
24. True Widow – Theurgist / Avvolgere
25. Desmond Dekker - 007 (Shanty Town) / The Original Hits
26. Angie - Breathing In Blue / Free Agent
27. CFM - Lethal Look / Dichotomy Desaturated
28. Teledetente 666 - A Chaque Ville sa Folle / Karen
29. Pumice - Tonight The Kids Sleep In The Car / Worldwide Skull
30. Suiix – Planet / download
31. The Ruts - It Was Cold / The Crack